July 5, 2009

Carob, the Other Chocolate

Awhile ago we bought some carob flour. We didn't have any use in mind, but I like the taste and decided to get some. The recipes could follow.

The carob bean comes in large pods of the carob tree. Traditionally, carob was used as a sweetener throughout the Middle East, and the pods are often used as animal feed. From the 1920's through the 40's, several attempts were made to grow these trees on a large scale in California and Arizona, but the craze never really caught on. Europeans and Americans mostly grind carob into a flour and roast it, using it in drinks and desserts. Carob is mostly known here in the states as a chocolate substitute. I like to sprinkle some carob flour in my coffee just before brewing; it mellows out bitter coffee quite well without sugar.

The following recipe can be made gluten-free by substituting the flour with your favorite gluten-free flour. I believe a rice-based blend works best for cookies.

Carob Cashew Cookies


1 c all-purpose flour, or a comparable gluten-free blend
¼ c carob flour
1 t baking powder
¼ t baking soda
½ t cinnamon
¼ c sugar
¼ t salt
4 T maple syrup
2 T cashew butter, or almond butter
1 t vanilla extract
4 T canola oil
¼ c cashew pieces


1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray a cookie sheet with oil.

2. In a bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients (down to salt).

3. In another bowl, mix together the wet ingredients (down to canola oil).

4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until well combined, but don't overmix.

5. Roll the dough into 1-inch diameter balls and place on the cookie sheet. Place a cashew piece on top of each and press down slightly.

6. Bake for 11 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheet for 1 minute, then remove to a wire rack.

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